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Posts tagged ‘Abraham’

Lamed Hey: In the Footsteps of Our Forefathers.


 

The 'Patriarchs Route' just south of Jerusalem
The ‘Patriarchs Route’ just south of Jerusalem (Yehoshua Halevi / Golden Images)

Growing up in New Jersey, my youth was filled with visits to important places associated with George Washington; where he fought, slept, and ate, and places associated with Thomas Edison and his many inventions. I even grew up next to a house whose sub-basement was a stop on the Underground Railroad. These bits of history as far back as 1775 are vividly etched in my mind still today.

Living in Israel, I have been exposed to a new set of landmarks, some obvious ones going back thousands of years including the Western Wall and remains of Jerusalem’s ancient Temples, the burial places of our patriarchs and matriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Leah, Rebecca and Rachel, Joseph and others. These are frequented on typical tourist itineraries, but there are many more off the beaten path, literally and figuratively.

These sites are landmarks in the thousands of years of Jewish history, underscoring our ancient, and modern, connection to the Land.

One example is a path through the mountains near my home south of Jerusalem called Derech HaAvot – the “Patriarchs Route.” More than just a catchy name, this winding dirt path is literally one of the ways that people walked south from Jerusalem to the desert, to Israel’s southern coast, and residential and commercial areas of the day, thousands of years ago. Did Abraham and Sarah and their children and grandchildren walk these very routes, maybe while going down to or returning from Egypt? There’s no archeological evidence of that (yet) but it’s intuitive that they did, as this was one of the highways of their day.

There’s something awesome and humbling knowing that these very hills, with their hot dry weather, beautiful landscapes, and magnificent sunsets, are the same today as when they lived, connecting us deeply to the Land, and our history. Of course, the most famous Book documents this all, I just have the privilege to live and raise my family here.

As much as biblical events happened all around us, there’s a vast amount of modern historical connection we have to the Land as well. A few years ago, we went with friends to visit one of Jerusalem’s lesser-known but no less interesting historical spots, the Museum of the Underground Prisoners. This is where the British used to incarcerate Jews who were accused of many crimes including being part of the resistance to the British Mandate and British policies limiting the number of Jewish immigrants, including refugees and Holocaust survivors who were able to reach the shores of our homeland.

Growing up here at that time, my father used to tell me about his friends’ older siblings who were arrested and sent to places like this, or exiled to Cyprus, for “crimes” as serious as posting flyers against the British. Back in the Underground Prison, one of our friends we were with, whose family goes back generations in Jerusalem, was raised both with academic lessons and personal family stories of this era. While exploring the museum’s exhibit that recounted the experiences of the prisoners, she came across a small Book of Psalms with a sign next to it that it had belonged to her uncle who had been imprisoned there. This little book was a link in the chain of Jewish life and experiences in Israel before 1948 that made the visit very personal to us all, and especially to her children who were fascinated to see a piece of modern history that documented their family’s ties to our national history. OK, it’s not the same as finding the knife that Abraham would have used to sacrifice Isaac, but it is meaningful all the same.

Every other year for the past several years, most recently this week, one or more of my kids joined thousands of Israeli teens commemorating the anniversary, an annual re-enactment of a famous hike, that of the legendary Lamed Hey. The kids experience for a night the mission, terrain, and weather, of an historic event in modern times, and our unbreakable bond to the Land. Lamed Hey are the Hebrew letters that represent the number 35 for the Thirty-Five soldiers who set out on an all-night mission to bring aid to the Gush Etzion region during Israel’s War of Independence.

On January 15, 1948, the Thirty-Five set out by foot carrying heavy backpacks loaded with first-aid supplies, plasma, weapons, and ammunition for the embattled Jewish Gush Etzion communities. They were forced to proceed slowly up the Judean Mountains’ rocky terrain. They departed before midnight, more than 15 miles away. Other than braving a cold Judean Mountain winter night, they first had to bypass a British police station unnoticed, and continue through hostile Arab territory.

The Thirty-Five walked throughout the night. Near dawn they approached Zurif, the last Arab village before Gush Etzion, four miles away. The unit was detected and shots were fired at them. They were deep in enemy territory without any means to call for outside help. As soon as the battle began, the commander realized that they would not be able to break through to Gush Etzion. They quickly split into two and, with one group covering the other, they climbed to the top of what is now known as “Battle Hill,” a strategic defensive location. The Thirty-Five bravely defended themselves against the fierce attacks of hundreds of Arabs from neighboring villages. Toward evening on Jan. 16, the supply of ammunition which the Thirty-Five carried began to run out. The battle ended with the death of the last of the Thirty-Five who, having used all their ammunition, died with rocks in their hands. After the battle, many of the bodies were mutilated by the Arabs beyond recognition.

We are connected to this Land, biblically, historically, and in modern times in more ways than can be recounted. We have paid a heavy price to return and restore Jewish sovereignty to the Land that God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their descendants, including me and my family.

It is with no small measure of joy and privilege that I raise my children here, 10-15 minutes from Jerusalem, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, and “Battle Hill” to where each of my four eldest children retraced the footsteps of modern forefathers, recalling their bravery, and our timeless connection to this, our Land, in the footsteps of our modern and biblical forefathers.

Source: STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

JONATHAN FELDSTEIN

Jonathan Feldstein is the director of Heart to Heart, a unique virtual blood donation program to bless Israel and save lives in Israel. Born and educated in the U.S., Feldstein emigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes a column for Charisma’s Standing With Israel. You can contact Jonathan atfirstpersonisrael@gmail.com.

How You Can Stop God’s Call on Your Husband’s Life.


 

wife looking at husband on the phone
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

Recently my husband, John Hagee, surveyed the women of our church and asked the question, “What do women want in a man?” Character traits such as faithfulness, honesty, respect and good communication all figured prominently in their responses. So did romance, a good sense of humor and an ability to be a good provider.

But of the top 10 qualities expressed by the women in our congregation, godliness ranked highest as the primary character trait women desired in a man. Actually, godliness is the sum total of all the top 10 desires women want most in a man.

Perhaps you would agree with what we found. If you do, my first question for you is, “Do you know how to recognize a godly man?”

When I considered the traits that women desired most, immediately I began to think of some of the heroes of the Bible, men in Scripture whom we identify as truly godly. But have you ever wondered what it might be like to be married to one of them?

Husbands of the Bible Noah, the Scriptures say, was a “just and righteous man, blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked [in habitual fellowship] with God” (Gen. 6:9, The Amplified Bible). Now, for a moment, imagine what it would be like to be married to him.

He comes home one afternoon with architectural plans in his hands and tells you he has had a visitation from the Lord Himself. The great I AM has commanded him to do something he has never done before–with no budget and no true understanding of its purpose.

Furthermore, he says God is going to destroy all living creatures on the earth with water from the skies–a phenomenon not yet witnessed by any human being. So, he quits his job and begins his assignment.

Then Noah tells you that after his building project is completed, you and he and the children will take a long cruise. However, he doesn’t know exactly where or for how long. And there is one more catch–you must help him gather and care for those who will travel with your family, something about “two by two.”

You will have a thankless job, but he feels very strongly that he should obey the wishes of the Lord, for Jehovah God has promised to provide. Would you willingly work by his side?

Abraham was commanded by God to leave a very comfortable home and depart from his family and his country. God loves Abraham so much that He makes a special covenant with him (see Gen. 17:1-8).

He comes to you and recounts his visit with God. He persuades you to leave the dream house you just built and all that is important to you. He assures you that Yahweh has promised to bless him with descendents that will be too many to count.

Oh, and it gets better! While on your trip to “God only knows where,” Abraham convinces you to act as his sister for his protection. Even though this request from Abraham will put you in imminent danger, you finally agree.

Time passes, and the journey, which has been tough, finds you older now. You have given this man some of the best years of your life. You have a weak moment and determine that at your present age, you probably won’t produce an heir for your husband.

Therefore, you suggest–only once, I might add–that he go into your handmaiden and produce a child with her. Without hesitation he agrees–a little too quickly, if you ask me.

To add insult to injury, your favorite handmaiden, now heavy with your husband’s child, is flaunting her favored status. Would you leave your home and go with this man?

Moses was a man so loved of God that God chose him to lead His people out of bondage. Moses is the man to whom God entrusted His law. What would it be like married to Moses?

Moses is gone days at a time on spiritual mountain retreats without you. When he is home, he is overwhelmed with his task of leading millions of people somewhere, to arrive sometime.

It seems to you that you are hopelessly stuck in the desert. Moses spends most of his time in counseling sessions, trying to solve the chosen people’s problems.

He brings their problems home with him every night. Would you support this man and his ministry?.

David was a man after God’s own heart, a leader among men, a great warrior–but also an adulterer and a murderer and a failure as a father. What would it have been like to be married to him?

All these men have something in common: They were flawed individuals chosen by God to do His will. In order to accomplish their purposes, these men had to have very supportive and godly women by their sides.

Like these men, we are all flawed creatures. But there is a remarkable difference: The blood of a faultless Lamb covers us.

These men lived under the Law; we live under the grace and mercy of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is His mercy that keeps us from getting what we deserve and His grace that gives us what we do not deserve.

Titus 2:11-12 says: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (NIV).

With this understanding of God’s generous outpouring of grace and mercy toward us, I want you to be excited about what the Lord can do in your husband and in your marriage.

What women want in a man may not be as easily attained as we might think. In fact, what women want may not be what God wants them to have.

But He can equip you with what you need in order to be the woman, wife and mother He intended you to be. He can turn your marriage into something that resembles heaven on Earth and your husband into a godly reflection of Himself.

Men After God’s Heart A godly man must have the mind and heart of God. He must be God’s hands and see as He sees. When a godly man sees the hurting and those bound by the ravages of sin, he thinks as God thinks, in terms of love and compassion for the loveless.

On one of our many trips to Israel, John and I were privileged to witness such compassion expressed through godly men. While on our flight to the Holy Land, two of the ministry partners with whom we were traveling shared their testimony with us.

They had accepted Christ while watching my husband on television. They told us of the homosexual lifestyle they had turned away from and the new joy they’d found. Thrilled with their new life, they were now on the trip of a lifetime.

Sadly, because of their past lifestyle, one of them was suffering from AIDS. They were concerned what others on the trip might think, but my husband assured them that all would be fine.

After much prayer, the young man gave my husband permission to tell the others in our group that he was ill and needed their prayers and assistance. I remember my husband asked the Lord to prepare the group for the news regarding our young friend. He prayed, “Father, give them Your ears as they hear this news, and keep them from fear as they respond to this child of God with Your loving heart.”

The next morning during our time of devotion, we told the group of our young friend’s need for healing from this dreaded disease. With tears in their eyes, members of the group came up to him one by one and knelt around him as, together, we agreed in prayer for his healing.

But the most profound moment for me took place at the Garden Tomb. We had a time of worship and then released the people to enter the empty tomb.

One by one they went in. My husband and I were watching these precious pilgrims experience a very solemn moment when something beautiful happened. The young man with AIDS was sitting several yards from the tomb because the large stones of the Garden made it difficult to maneuver his wheelchair.

Two of the men from our group went to him and placed their arms under his body. He anchored his frail arms around their shoulders as they carried him toward the tomb.

The people who were gathered around the doorway made a path for the three men to enter the dark mausoleum. All was quiet as they bowed their heads and prayed. The three men walked out of the tomb with tears flowing down their faces.

My husband and I felt privileged to see a demonstration of the heart of the living God arising out of that empty tomb.

The godly man sees the scarred hands of his Savior when he reaches out with his own hands to his wife, his children, or a stranger in good deeds and kindness.

Finally, a godly man must learn to say no to the world. The world does not recognize the righteousness of the God whom we serve.

DIANA HAGEE

By Prophet Bards Foretold.


We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote — Jesus of Nazareth
John 1:45

Recommended Reading
John 1:1-14 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%201:1-14&version=NKJV )

Every aspect of our Lord’s birth, life, personality, character, ministry, arrest, trial, death, resurrection, and ascension were predicted hundreds of years in advance. The entire Old Testament is simply a preview of the life of Christ. We’re told He would be born of a woman (Genesis 3:15); to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14); of the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:3); of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10); through the line of David (Isaiah 9:7); in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); and that His name would be Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

The virgin birth and all the other aspects of our Lord’s life, having been accurately predicted, were wondrously fulfilled, proving His origin and identity. Jesus told His enemies to search the Old Testament Scriptures, for “these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39).

The same Bible that pinpointed His first coming is brimming with references to His return. Let’s rejoice in His virgin birth today, and await His victorious return.

“For lo! The days are hastening on, by prophet bards foretold, when with the ever circling years comes round the age of gold.”1

1 Edmund H. Sears, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Luke 2:1-20, Jude 1

By David Jeremiah

Christmas Relief.


[ Simeon ] took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word.”
Luke 2:28-29

Recommended Reading
Revelation 5:9-10 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%205:9-10&version=NKJV )

The American Heritage Dictionary says  relief  is “a feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress.” Relief is what Simeon felt when he first saw the eight-day-old baby Jesus. What was the “anxiety or distress” Simeon felt? It was the stress of waiting and watching for God’s Messiah to appear (Luke 2:25). Simeon was apparently an aged man. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before seeing the Messiah (Luke 2:26), and now he said to the Lord: “You are letting Your servant depart in peace.”

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

Simeon was like Abraham. God had promised Abraham a son through whom a great nation would grow, but Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah was ninety (Genesis 17:17-18) — they waited and God answered. God had promised Simeon he would see the Messiah but … and then it happened! He didn’t need to wait to see the Messiah’s kingdom — he only needed to know that the Messiah had come. He could depart this world “in peace.”

For the same reason, we can celebrate Christmas in peace. The Messiah has come. God has fulfilled His Word. All will soon be right with the world when the Messiah establishes His kingdom on earth.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Hebrews 9-10

By David Jeremiah.

Why Should We Study the Genealogies?.


At first glance, the beginning of Matthew is a less-than-exciting literary starting point of the New Testament. It is a list of “begats” tracing Jesus‘ lineage back to Abraham.

What this beginning lacks in literary punch it makes up for in theological significance. Among other things, the genealogical tables of the New Testament place the gospel squarely on the plane of history. Jesus was born “in the fullness of time”—His ministry is defined and interpreted against the background of Old Testament history.

The New Testament provides two genealogical tables for Jesus, one by Matthew and one by Luke. These tables differ at significant points. Matthew was writing for a Jewish audience and Luke for a Gentile audience. Matthew was concerned to show that Jesus legally descended from David and was therefore a descendant of Judah to whom the messianic kingship was promised. Matthew treats the legal descent of Jesus and limits the lists to three groupings of fourteen generations, allowing himself to make omissions.

Luke follows the natural descent with greater detail. He takes the list back to Adam, as it was a central theme in his Gospel to set forth the universality of the gospel. Jesus is indeed the Son of Abraham and the Son of David, but He is also the new Adam who comes to redeem not only Israel but men and women from every tribe and nation.

Taken from “Tracing the Genealogy of Jesus” by Ligonier Ministries (used by permission).

The Holy Land Continues to Surprise and Amaze Me.


A shot of Perry Stone (l) and Steve Strang overlooking a Shepherd's Field in Bethlehem
A shot of Perry Stone (l) and Steve Strang overlooking Shepherd’s Field in Bethlehem (Facebook)

My sixth trip to Israel, which ended Monday, proved to be the most enjoyable I’ve had. It was full of surprises as I toured with Perry Stone from Dan on the Lebanese border in the north to the Dead Sea in the south.

If you read my previous Strang Report, you know I flew in early to meet with Christian and Jewish leaders. Prior to leaving, the agreement with Iran was announced—which greatly upset the Israelis. I interviewed Perry Stone on the prophetic significance of that news, which you can read here.

It was a wonderful tour with many new experiences as I traveled with my wife, Joy, and Tessie DeVore, the executive vice president of our book group, and her husband, David. Since I had been to Israel five other times and already had seen many sites, I thought I knew what to expect. But with every day came new experiences and many surprises.

I hosted a small tour to Israel back in the 1980s. It was mostly a tour of Catholic churches and Israeli museums. I also spent a lot of time on that trip in the Hadassah hospital since one of the ladies on my tour broke her leg! By contrast, my trip this year was about places in the Bible that have been excavated or are much as they were when the Bible was written—instead of covered with Byzantine-era churches.

It’s almost humorous that in some places, two churches will claim to be the real site of a biblical event—as is the case about the place in Nazareth where the angel appeared to Mary.

I don’t have space to give a detailed account of every stop. We made five or six stops every day for seven days! Although I did try to post something on Facebook at every stop (you can “like” me onfacebook.com/stephenestrang). Here’s what I enjoyed most:

  • I was fascinated seeing the ruins of Ancient Greek-Roman culture at places like Banias, where there was a temple to the half-man, half-goat Greek god Pan (where we get the words panic andpandemonium) at what the Bible calls Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?”
  • The recently discovered ruins of Beit She’an, created by Alexander the Great, reminded me of what I saw in Pompeii, Italy. Our guide told us homosexuality flourished with other pagan behavior in Jesus’ day alongside Orthodox Judaism. I had never seen the parallel in Jesus’ day and the early church in how they existed side by side with gross paganism as similar to the new secular paganism we see in our own society that is often at odds with the biblical standards we value.
  • I enjoyed walking the extensive tunnels along the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. These weren’t open when I first came in 1979 with Jamie Buckingham. Back then, however, we were allowed to go in some digs on the south end of the temple that had just begun. To go back last week and see what’s been done since then was astounding to me.
  • The tunnel that was dug many feet deep at Megiddo through solid rock to a spring to save the city during a siege was unbelievable engineering for ancient times. I enjoyed walking through them, even though it was exhausting exercise. And to think this is the prophesied site of the Battle of Armageddon!
  • I didn’t expect to be so impressed with the digs at Tel Dan that show the oldest city gates in the world. Certainly Abraham stopped here on his way from Haran, north of there, to the Promised Land. It was near here that God made His covenant with Abraham. It’s also the headwaters of the Jordan. In fact, the name Jordan means “out of Dan.” And since we were also at Beer Sheva in the Judean Desert, it gave new meaning to the biblical phrase “from Dan to Beer Sheva,” describing the extent of the country, like we might say “from Maine to California.” Many such expressions come alive when you visit the land of the Bible.
  • The new digs at Migdal, the home of Mary Magdalene on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, were only begun in 2009. Archeologists found a first-century synagogue where undoubtedly Jesus taught very close to Nazareth, where He was born, and Capernaum, His home as an adult. They also found a first-century carving of a menorah—one of only four found in Israel, our guide told us. And they found mikvas, the ritual baths the Jews used, which was the pattern for our baptismal tanks we use in churches today.
  • The newly discovered Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed the blind man by putting mud on his eyes and telling him to wash in the pool, was discovered by accident only 10 years ago. Another place had been assumed to be the Pool of Siloam until then. It meant a lot to me to visit there, since our health book imprint for Charisma House is called Siloam.
  • I enjoyed the re-enactments of life in biblical times, especially at Genesis Land near Beer Sheva, where Abraham lived. In a desert setting in what is called the West Bank, there are big tents set up somewhat like the time of Abraham, and an actor playing Abraham describes what life was like while we sat in the cool of the tent and ate dates and apricots. I even had my first camel ride back to the bus!
  • Later, in the modern city of Nazareth, the YMCA has recreated Nazareth village to represent what it was like in the day of Jesus. This makes it easy to visualize life back then—watching a woman spin wool into yarn, seeing a man making wooden utensils like Joseph must have done. We also learned about agriculture and animal husbandry in the time of Christ. A man playing a shepherd even called a flock of sheep with an odd clucking sound, and the sheep came running! I had never seen a shepherd caring for sheep up close.
  • My first trip to Israel in 1979 was to the Sinai Peninsula to climb Mount Sinai with Jamie Buckingham. We lived in the desert for nine nights without even the convenience of outhouses! That helped me understand what life is like for the Bedouins who still live in the area. We also swam in the waterfalls at En Gedi, just off the Dead Sea!
  • In the process of that trip with Jamie, I didn’t experience what most tourists or pilgrims experience. Three other trips have been to attend conferences. So this time, it was important to me to experience things I had never experienced. One example is swimming in the Dead Sea, which was a weird experience, due to it being impossible to sink in it. On a more spiritual note, I decided to be baptized in the Jordan River. I feel my baptism at age 8 is still valid, and I avoided being baptized when I was at the Jordan before. But this time, I understood it was simply a reaffirmation of my following Christ in baptism.

What else can I say? I left out visiting the Mount of Olives and the Upper Room, the Jezreel Valley, Jericho, the oldest city on earth or Shepherds’ Field near Bethlehem. Or did I mention the 2,000 year old boat preserved in mud in the Sea of Galilee and now preserved and on display? We visited kibbutzim, where strategic battles were fought for Israel’s independence and where the output for agriculture is astounding. We saw dairy cows that give much more milk than cows anywhere else in the world. One of the reasons is the Israelis found the cows give more milk if they listen to classical music!

Listening to Perry Stone teach was a highlight too. He did nearly 20 telecasts on location. Each was different, and the insights were incredible. Each one seemed better than the one before. When it comes to understanding Bible prophecy, insights from the Bible or interesting customs of the day that help us understand what the Bible means, Perry is without equal. Be sure to check out his website to see when these telecasts are airing on Manna-Fest in the next year.

There were also humorous moments. We had a lot of fun joking around with the tour guides and the others on the trip. That’s part of the experience of visiting the Holy Land! And they had fun when, in Bethlehem, our host presented me with a special white goat meat no one else would eat. I enjoyed it and then realized at home we call it “Rocky Mountain oysters.” Another time they presented me with veal tongue. Not bad tasting.

I’m going home feeling full, and it’s more than all the food they fed us. I feel I understand the land of the Bible. I felt my times of prayer and Bible study last week were significant. And I came away feeling more of a connection with the Israelis, whom I so admire.

But don’t take my word for it. Decide to visit Israel. The touring company tried to persuade me to try taking another tour after the disastrous experience I had in the 1980s. Stayed tuned. Maybe I will someday.

STEVE STRANG

Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter at @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).

How God Acts When You Surrender.


woman holding white flag
(© Taylor Hinton iStockPhoto.com)

I believe every child of God is called to absolute surrender—a state in which she is completelyyielded to her heavenly Father in every area of her life. We have heard it before, but we need to hear it very definitely—the condition of God’s blessing is absolute surrender of all into His hands. If our hearts are willing for that, there is no end to what God will do for us and to the blessing He will bestow.

Absolute surrender—let me tell you where I got those words. I used them myself often. But once, in Scotland, I was in a company where we were talking about the condition of the church and what the great need of believers is. There was in our company a godly Christian worker who trains other workers for Christ, and I asked him what He would say was the greatest need–the message that ought to be preached. He answered very quietly and simply and determinedly:

“Absolute surrender to God is the one thing.”

The words struck me as never before. And now, I desire by God’s grace to give to you this message—that your God in heaven answers the prayers you have offered for blessing on yourselves and those around you by this one demand: Are you willing to surrender yourselves absolutely into His hands?

God knows there are hundreds of hearts who have said it, and there are hundreds more who long to say it but hardly dare to do so. And there are hearts who have said it, but who have yet miserably failed, and who feel themselves condemned because they did not find the secret of the power to live that life. May God have a word for all!

God Expects Your Surrender

Surrender has its foundation in the very nature of God—the Creator of life, the only Source of existence and power and goodness. God has created the sun, the moon, the stars, the flowers, the trees and the grass. Are they not all absolutely surrendered to Him? Do they not allow God to work in them just what He pleases?

And God’s redeemed children, oh, can you think that God can do His work if there is only half or a part of them surrendered? He cannot. God is life, love, blessingpower, and infinite beauty, and God delights in communicating Himself to every child who is prepared to receive Him. But ah! This lack of absolute surrender is just the thing that hinders God. And now He comes, and as God, He claims it.

You know in daily life what absolute surrender is. You know that everything has to be given up to its special, definite object and service.

I have a pen in my pocket, and that pen is absolutely surrendered to the one work of writing. It must be absolutely surrendered to my hand if I am to write properly with it. If another holds it partly, I cannot write properly.

And now, do you expect that in your immortal being, in the divine nature that you have received byregeneration, God can work His work, every day and every hour, unless you are entirely given up to Him? He cannot.

The temple of Solomon was absolutely surrendered to God when it was dedicated to Him. And every one of us is a temple of God, in which God will dwell and work mightily on one condition—absolute surrender to Him. God claims it, God is worthy of it, and without it God cannot work His blessed work in us.

God Accomplishes Your Surrender 

I am sure there many hearts that are saying: “Ah, but absolute surrender requires such a price! I have passed through so much trial and suffering already, and there is still so much of the self-life remaining. I dare not face giving it up entirely because I know it will cause even more trouble and agony.”

What a shame that God’s children have such cruel thoughts of Him! I come with a message to those who are fearful and anxious: God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your own strength, or by the power of your will; He is willing to work it in you. Do we not read: “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13)?

And that is what we should seek—to go on our faces before God, until our hearts learn to believe that the everlasting God Himself will come in to turn out what is wrong. He will conquer what is evil and work what is well-pleasing in His sight. God Himself will work it in you.

Look at the men in the Old Testament, such as Abraham. Do you think it was by accident that God found that man the father of the faithful and the friend of God? Do you think it was Abraham himself, apart from God, who had such faith and obedience and devotion? You know it is not so. God raised him up and prepared him as an instrument for His glory.

I want to encourage you, and I want you to cast away every fear. Come with that feeble desire. If there is the fear that says, “Oh, my desire is not strong enough! I am not willing for everything that may come, and I do not feel bold enough to say I can conquer everything,” I implore you, learn to know and trust your God now.

Say, “My God, I am willing for You to make me willing.” If there is anything holding you back or any sacrifice you are afraid of making, come to God now and prove how gracious He is. Do not be afraid that He will demand from you what He will not bestow.

God Accepts Your Surrender

God works surrender in the secret of our hearts; He urges us by the hidden power of His Holy Spirit to come and speak it out, and we have to bring and yield to Him that absolute surrender. But remember, when you come and bring it to Him, it may, as far as your feelings go, be a thing of great imperfection. You may doubt and hesitate and ask, “Is it absolute?”

But remember, there was once a man to whom Christ said:

“If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

And his heart was afraid, and he cried out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (v. 24). That was a faith that triumphed over Satan, and the evil spirit was cast out.

And if you come and say, “Lord, I yield myself in absolute surrender,” even though you do so with a trembling heart and with the awareness that you do not feel the power, the determination or the assurance, it will succeed. Do not be afraid, but come just as you are. Even in the midst of your trembling the power of the Holy Spirit will work.

Have you not yet learned the lesson that the Holy Spirit works with mighty power, while on the human side everything appears feeble? Look at the Lord Jesus Christ in Gethsemane.

We read that He, “through the eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14), offered Himself a sacrifice unto God. The Almighty Spirit of God was enabling Him to do it. And yet what agony and fear and exceeding sorrow came over Him, and how He prayed!

Externally, you can see no sign of the mighty power of the Spirit, but the Spirit of God was there. And even so, while you are feeble and fighting and trembling, have faith in the hidden work of God’s Spirit and do not fear, but yield yourself.

We want to get help, every one of us, so that in our daily life God will have the right place and be “all in all.” And if we are to have that throughout life, let us begin now and look away from ourselves and look up to God.

Let each believe when he says, “Oh God, I accept Your terms. I have pleaded for blessing on myself and others. I have accepted Your terms of absolute surrender,” that there is a God present who takes note of it and writes it down in His book.

There is a God present who at that very moment takes possession of you. You may not feel it, you may not realize it, but God takes possession if you will trust Him.

God Maintains Your Surrender

When God has begun the work of absolute surrender in you and has accepted your surrender, then God holds Himself bound to care for it and to keep it. Do you believe that? Do you believe that He can keep you continually, day by day, and moment by moment?

A life of absolute surrender has its difficulties. I do not deny that. It is a life that with men is absolutely impossible. But by the grace of God, by the power of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, it is a life to which we are destined and a life that is possible for us. Let us believe that God will maintain it.

Give yourself up absolutely to the will of God. Say to Him: “By Your grace I desire to do Your will in everything, every moment of every day.”

It is God who will enable you to carry out the surrender. Yes, the living God wants to work in His children in a way that we cannot understand but that God’s Word has revealed. He wants to work in us every moment of the day. God is willing to maintain our life. Only let our absolute surrender be one of simple, childlike, unbounded trust.

God Blesses When You Surrender

This surrender to God brings wonderful blessings. But it must be absolute. We must say, even if with a trembling will: “O God, I accept Your demands. I am Yours and all that I have. Absolute surrender is what my soul yields to You by divine grace.”

You may not have as strong, clear feelings of surrender as you would like to have, but humble yourselves in His sight, and acknowledge that you have grieved the Holy Spirit by your self-will, self-confidence and self-effort. Bow humbly before Him in the confession of that, and ask Him to break your heart and bring you into the dust before Him.

Then, as you bow before Him, just accept God’s teaching that in your flesh “nothing good dwells” (Rom. 7:18) and that nothing will help you except another life coming in. You must deny self once and for all. Denying self must every moment be the power of your life, and then Christ will come in and take possession of you.

Come and cast this self-life and flesh-life at the feet of Jesus. Then trust Him. Do not worry yourselves with trying to understand all about it, but come in the living faith that Christ will come into you with the power of His death and the power of His life. Then the Holy Spirit will bring the whole Christ–Christ crucified and risen and living in glory into your heart.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

ANDREW MURRAY

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was an ordained minister in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa and the author of numerous devotional works that have become classics, including Abide in Christ, Absolute Surrender and Waiting on God.

Abraham Kuyper, Statesman-Theologian.


Abraham Kuyper, Statesman-TheologianThe entire nation of The Netherlands celebrated the seventieth birthday of Abraham Kuyper on this day, October 29, 1907. By proclamation the nation recognized that the history of the Netherlands, in Church, in State, in Society, in Press, in School, and in the Sciences the last forty years, could not be written without the mention of his name on almost every page, for during this period the biography of Dr. Abraham Kuyper was to a considerable extent the history of the Netherlands.Who was this man who had such a deep impact on his nation? Abraham Kuyper was born on this day, October 29, 1837. At first his teachers thought he was dull, but at the early age of twelve he entered the Gymnasium (roughly equivalent to an american senior high school). Later he graduated with highest honors from Leyden University. He went on to receive his doctorate in sacred theology and was a minister at Breesd and Utrecht before going to Amsterdam in 1870.

In Kuyper’s earlier years, the religious life of the nation was almost dead. The church was largely cold and formal. There was no Bible in the schools and it had minimal influence in the life of the nation. Kuyper did much to change this by his involvement in the Anti-Revolutionary Party.

The Anti-Revolutionary Party derived its name from its opposition to the ideas of the French Revolution; the party was basically the Protestant contingent of the Dutch nation. In 1872 Abraham became Editor-in-chief of De Standard, the daily newspaper and official organ of the Anti-Revolutionary Party. Soon after taking the helm of De Standard, Kuyper also became editor of De Heraut, a weekly Christian newspaper. He continued as editor of both newspapers for over forty-five years.

In 1874 Kuyper was elected to the lower house of Parliament, and he served there until 1877. Three years later he founded the Free University of Amsterdam, which took the Bible as the foundation of every area of knowledge.

As leader of the Anti-Revolutionary Party, Abraham was summoned by Queen Wilhelmena to form a cabinet and become Prime Minister of the nation. He was Prime Minister until 1905. Some party members were dissatisfied with their leader, however, because he would not keep his church and political activities separate. To him, they were identical interests since he saw Christ as king in every department of human life. Abraham believed that Christ rules not merely by the tradition of what He once was, spoke, did and endured, but by a living power which even now, seated as He is at the right hand of God, He exercises over lands, nations, generations, families, and individuals.

Abraham Kuyper had a tremendous aversion to wasting time when there was so much to do. A man of tremendous versatility, he was a noted linguist, theologian, university professor, politician, statesman, philosopher, scientist, and philanthropist. In spite of his many accomplishments and his tremendous urgency to redeem the time, Abraham was also a man of the people. Like the Savior whom he served, he always had time for people and never turned any away who needed his counsel.

In 1897, at the 25th anniversary of his editorship of De Standaard, Abraham described the ruling passion of his life:

That in spite of all worldly opposition, God’s holy ordinances shall be established again in the home, in the school, and in the State for the good of the people; to carve as it were into the conscience of the nation the ordinances of the Lord, to which Bible and Creation bear witness, until the nation pays homage again to God.

Abraham had the rare combination of being both a great theologian and a great, warm Christian. Every week he wrote a devotional meditation– over 2000 in his lifetime. Some of these were collected into his book To Be Near Unto God. In it he wrote,

The fellowship of being near unto God must become reality, in the full and vigorous prosecution of our life. It must permeate and give color to our feeling, our perception, our sensations, our thinking, our imagining, our willing, our acting, our speaking. It must not stand as a foreign factor in our life, but it must be the passion that breathes throughout our whole existence.

Bibliography:

  1. Adapted from an earlier Christian History Institute story.
  2. Gordon, ErnestA Book of Protestant Saints. Chicago: Moody Press, 1946.
  3. Kuyper, Abraham. To Be Near Unto God. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979.
  4. McGoldrick, James E. Abraham Kuyper; God’s Renaissance man. Auburn MA: Evangelical Press, 2000.

Last updated July, 2007.

Abuja: Diary Of A Social Theorist By Gimba Kakanda.


By Gimba Kakanda

It is Eid again, the festival we seem to dishonour what we set out to celebrate. I’m seated in a resort with friends enjoying the panoramas of Abuja. Prices of food items have risen, clothes are no longer cheap, and rams which are the symbolic acquisitions for this feast to commemorate the aborted sacrifice of Abraham, a remarkable test of faith, are going for more than the price of a motorcycle. All to emulate the faith and modesty of those fine people.

On the phone my friend is lecturing his family about the need to “manage” the little he has sent home. He gives them statistics of how a day in Abuja ends, and his survival tactics. Even though he exaggerates, I still feel for him. Abuja, to some non-residents, is an Arcadia where money grows on trees; a land of vast opportunities where the President of the Federation himself posts money to residents – or just a city where you earn the same thing as the politicians.

“I should learn to save my incomes?” My friend echoes, obviously the words of the tormentor on the phone. We burst into laughter. And for this realisation that we have been listening in, he ended the call. That is a typical phone call from certain mathematicians back home who seem to have idea of what you earn and how it is, or must be, used. Let’s talk a lucky Ibrahim in Abuja: he works for N100,000 per month. His house rent is half a million naira, which means what he earns in five months belongs to the landlord. Ibrahim has to transport himself to and from wherever works in Central Area for not less than a thousand naira every day. At the office, Ibrahim has to eat. Mama-put joints are not close to everyone. If you include his regular utility bills and some emergency events, you don’t need my friend accountant Remi to officially declare him BROKE!

Landing a job as Ibrahim’s in Abuja is a miracle for which it’s okay to organise a Thanksgiving. A friend of ours, a graduate of Sciences, earns thirty-five thousand naira working in a private hospital. Another friend, a lawyer, is paid twenty thousand naira every month slaving in Chambers whose owner thinks he’s doing him a favour. He has been miming “I need the experience first!” as an excuse for the consensual slavery for the past four years. These cruelly underpaid friends are still being depended on by family, and by relatives obsessed with the delusions of an Arcadian Abuja.

The day you go broke in Abuja is the day you will testify to the absolute inhumanity of man. Like every other city, it’s soulless and unsympathetic to every failed survivalist. This wisdom is carried by a consoler who once said, “Abuja is one place on earth you don’t want to be broke… Strive to attain certain level of financial freedom even if it means starving your grandmother at the village!” Elsewhere you may be broke and still have your parents or relatives to save you, but here everybody, even your closest friends, wears the Don’t-Go-Broke philosophy around like they would a bullet-proof vest in a war zone. Of course Abuja is a war zone of political and financial crises. Wallahi if you go broke in Abuja even your girlfriend or wife, who had previously called you the names of strange-sounding fruits, will no longer be available or friendly. She’ll either be too “busy” or “sick” to see or tolerate you.

My friends refused to go to their hometowns for Eid for fear of the “leeches” awaiting their returns with all they had plucked from the money tree of the federal capital. Their confessions resemble mine in a sense that some of these people desperate to have their shares of sallah palliatives are actually in self-inflicted palavers. An uncle of mine who is in his late thirties has four wives, his own irrational way of contributing to a religion he does not understand – yes, polygamy is one of the most abused practices among our people. For my uncle is a mere fisherman, with no financial and mental ability to discharge his duty as a husband in accordance with Qur’anic stipulations, being that fishing is a seasonal occupation. Which means he relies on us to feed his wives and uncountable children when the going gets tough, which is almost always. Evidently no supports can have all of those children in school. This is how we ruin our society, by remaining insensitive to time, to an age that requires outright application of progressive ideas to better our lots. In festive periods, their demands become unbearable.

I also know of a man who is presently in Saudi Arabia for a self-sponsored Hajj while his two wives and children are left to depend on neighbours for their benefits of eid-el Kabir. You put in over half a million naira for your pilgrimage to Hajj, just to be seen as a respectable Muslim, an Alhaji, even though you’re not a responsible Muslim by expressed activities, but your family has not even a thirty thousand naira ram for an important season of their life. This is also where I fault even our governments’ sponsorships of pilgrims when the money invested in individual pilgrim could set him/her up in an SME where s/he can eventually afford to privately fund his/her Hajj exercise.

We leave the resort discussing our people’s and governments’ ways, to catch up with other friends at Silverbird Galleria, an entertainment hub in the heart of city. The place was beautifully crowded. Beautiful because it’s my own definition of an open society; I see groups of ladies dressed in hijabs and others in spaghetti tops and mini mingling without staring each other down. This scene is unusual, thanks to sallah fun-seekers. To me, the sight is symbolic, it colourfully expresses the tolerance of an average human being. Is this co-habitation difficult? Do the clothes of those ladies poison one another? Do turbans distort the views of suit-adorning persons? No! Then why and how is it hard to show some respect to our different Ways? You go, Nigerians. May God save us from us!

By Gimba Kakanda
@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters 

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